January 22, 2022

New Full Text Report From National Research Council: “Copyright in the Digital Era: Building Evidence for Policy”

New from the National Research Council/Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) and published by the National Academies Press.

The full text is available to read online (free for personal use) and a downloadable PDF (free for personal use) is also available.


Over the course of several decades, copyright protection has been expanded and extended through legislative changes occasioned by national and international developments. The content and technology industries affected by copyright and its exceptions, and in some cases balancing the two, have become increasingly important as sources of economic growth, relatively high-paying jobs, and exports. Since the expansion of digital technology in the mid-1990s, they have undergone a technological revolution that has disrupted long-established modes of creating, distributing, and using works ranging from literature and news to film and music to scientific publications and computer software.

In the United States and internationally, these disruptive changes have given rise to a strident debate over copyright’s proper scope and terms and means of its enforcement–a debate between those who believe the digital revolution is progressively undermining the copyright protection essential to encourage the funding, creation, and distribution of new works and those who believe that enhancements to copyright are inhibiting technological innovation and free expression.

Copyright in the Digital Era: Building Evidence for Policy examines a range of questions regarding copyright policy by using a variety of methods, such as case studies, international and sectoral comparisons, and experiments and surveys. This report is especially critical in light of digital age developments that may, for example, change the incentive calculus for various actors in the copyright system, impact the costs of voluntary copyright transactions, pose new enforcement challenges, and change the optimal balance between copyright protection


Summary (1-6)
I Introduction (7-14)
2 Copyright Law and Economics in the Digital Era (15-34)
3 Research Directions (35-44)
4 Data Infrastructure for an Empirical Approach to Copyright Policy Research (45-62)
References (63-64)
Appendix A: A Copyright Primer (65-72)
Appendix B: Commissioned Paper Authors (73-76)
Appendix C: Committee Members (77-86)

Direct to Full Text/Download or Purchase Options

See Also: The Authors Guild has commented about this report in an AG blog post.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.